Those of us in the natural health field have been wary of parabens for several years. Early studies and reports had linked their use to allergic reactions and skin sensitivities. Concern about this common preservative is now becoming wide spread, however, due to new studies showing that these chemicals are able to penetrate the skin and cause hormonal disruptions. 

Touted as safe anti-fungal and anti-microbial agents, parabens have been used to extend the shelf life of body care products by months to years. But what cost have we paid for this convenience? Recent research has found that parabens mimic the effects of estrogen in the body. Additionally, residual parabens have been detected in breast tumors. Being that high levels of estrogen have been directly linked to breast cancer, the chances of this correlation being coincidence are slim. 

Frighteningly, the absorption of these chemicals into our bodies is relatively immediate. In one Danish study a cream containing parabens was spread on the backs of healthy men. Within hours the chemicals were detectible in their blood samples. 

Protecting yourself does take a bit of work. Even in natural foods stores, finding a personal care product without parabens can be a chore. I know. I’ve read all the labels. An ingredient list that starts with such wonderful ingredients as organic chamomile and horsetail quickly turns toxic toward the end with methylparaban, propylparaban and butylparaban. Paraben-free products can be found though.

Chances are that if you’re reading this article you already read the labels on your foods. It would be well worth your time to begin reading the labels of your personal care products as well.

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